scholarship for service

The need for Cybersecurity professionals

Cyberspace has emerged as a critical domain of global competition that reaches across social, economic, political and military realms of influence. The growth of the Internet and its infusion into nearly every aspect of our life presents a target opportunity for adversaries. It is essential to develop new operational doctrines, cyberwarfare capabilities, and the necessary human capital needed to maintain our interests in cyberspace. Meeting these challenges requires developing qualified professionals who understand this environment and its opportunities or risks. The Computer Science Department at FSU as an NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) and Research (CAE-R) stands ready to help build the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

CyberCorps®: Scholarship For Service (SFS)

Focused on Cybersecurity education, the SFS program gives students scholarship funds in exchange for service in the federal government for a period equivalent to the length of their scholarship (up to three years, minimum one year). As a result of the SFS program, federal agencies are able to select from a highly qualified pool of student applicants for internships and permanent positions, and students get a guarantreed job. The SFS program is offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Scholarship for Service program

The NSF has awarded the Florida State University Cybersecurity program funding for 35-45 CyberScholars for the period 2016-2021. Scholarship recipients shall pursue academic programs in:
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Criminology and
  • Computer and Network Administration
Cyberscholars will participate as a cohort during their studies and activities, including a summer internship in a federal agency at the end of their first year of support. They will become part of the Federal CyberCorps whose responsibility is to ensure the protection of the United States Government’s information infrastructure. Upon graduation, they will be required to work for a federal agency for as long as they were funded (minimum one year) in fulfillment of their Federal Cyber Service commitment. The program at FSU will fund the final:
  • Two years of a master's-level program
  • Three years of study where the student is receiving both the bachelor's and master's degree
  • Three years in combined bachelor's and master's degree ("five year") programs
  • Three years of research-based doctoral-level study.
During the scholarship period, the students will participate in meaningful summer internships but doctoral students may be allowed to replace their summer internship with a research activity. In return for their scholarships, recipients will work after graduation for a Federal, State, Local, or Tribal Government organization in a position related to cybersecurity for a period equal to the length of the scholarship (minimum one year). A limited number of students may be placed in National Laboratories and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).

Flyer for the Scholarship for Service program at FSU .

Program Benefits

  • Stipend: $22,500 per year for undergraduate students; $34,000 per year for master's degree students and $34,000 per year for doctoral students.
  • Full tuition and education related fees.
  • Health insurance reimbursement (up to $3000 per year).
  • Professional development allowance (travel, professional certification etc. (up to $4000 per year) and a book allowance (up to $2,000 per year).
  • Government summer internships and job opportunities with the world’s leading security organization.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  • You must be eligible to begin the senior undergraduate year with major in Computer Science, or an MS degree program in Computer Science.
  • You must be a full time student within three years of graduation at Florida State University with an MS degree in Computer Science.
  • Successful applicants will demonstrate in the application process academic merit as well as indicators of future professional success.
  • You must meet selection criteria for federal employment (you may be required to undergo a background investigation).

Eligibility Criteria

  • The scholarships are awarded on a merit basis.


  • After graduation, work for a Government agency or, subject to approval of the NSF program office, for a State, Local, Tribal, or Territorial Government; or a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, in a position related to cybersecurity for a period equal to the length of the scholarship: 2 (resp. 3) calendar years if funded for 2 (resp. 3) academic years, and one calendar year if funded for 1 academic year or less.
  • Serve a summer internship, that should be at least 10 weeks long when possible. Doctoral students may substitute the internship with a research activity.

Program Documents and Forms

The MS in Computer Science (Cybersecurity Major), the MS in Computer Criminology and the MS in Computer and Network Administration at FSU are ideally suited for students who want to assume leadership positions in Cybersecurity. Graduates of these programs will become security experts/analysts equipped to manage the growing complexities associated with securing data and networks as well as understanding the motives of cybercriminals.
Several Documents and Forms are listed below. The first gives a thorough description of the SFS program with helpful recommendations on meeting its requirements and finding a successful career. It includes a section on SFS FAQs for Students and a copy of the SFS Student Service Agreement. Look for tips on interviewing and job hunting for Federal jobs. In particular, tips for writing a government resume, a technical resume, a cover Letter; tips for telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews, and how to dress for face-to-face interviews. The second documents covers FAQs. The third on hiring SFS Cyberscholars. The fourth has some general guidelines and requirements for FSU applicants. The fifth is the Program of Study. Then come the policy of C-SAIT for SFS and a copy of the Service Agreement. The last two concern CyberCorps scholars and the National Training Standards Certificate for Information Security Professional.

  1. SFS Student Toolkit
  2. SFS FAQ for students
  3. SFS Hiring Toolkit
  4. General Guidelines for applicants,   Requirements for Cyberscholars
  5. Program of study
  6. C-SAIT Scholarship Program Policy
  7. Service Agreement (PDF)
  8. CyberCorps Website

NSF publication on the Scholarship for Service

For more information visit the NSF publication on the Scholarship for Service and review the C-SAIT Scholarship Program Policy.

How & When to Apply

Important: Participating in this program obliges you to a period of service in the federal government. For details check SFS FAQ.
If accepted, you will need to commit to a Service Agreement with the federal government.

Each applicant should provide the following:

  • Letter expressing interest in the NSF Cyber Training Scholarship program that includes a statement that indicates an understanding of the two year degree seeking nature of the program and of the two year commitment to the federal government after graduation
  • Transcripts of all college work
  • Standardized test scores (SAT, GRE)
  • Statement of purpose and description of goals in your computer science MS degree program and in the field of computer security and information assurance
  • Recommendation letters from at least two faculty members or employment managers familiar with the student’s background
  • Official acceptance into Florida State University
  • Current personal Resumé
Read ``What Makes a Great IASP Scholarship Application''.

Assessment of Applications

Applications will be evaluated in three stages:

  • Verification – Upon receipt of an application, the Department of Computer Science will review it for completeness and ensure that the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the program. The applicant will then be marked as “Insufficient Potential”, “Sufficient Potential”, “Average Potential”, “High Potential”, or “Superior Potential” based upon his or her transcript, GPA, academic honors, distinctions or awards and letters of reference.
  • Classification – Upon completion of the application period, a panel of Information Security professors will objectively rate the applicants as “No Knowledge or Ability”, “Basic Knowledge or Ability“, ”Intermediate Knowledge or Ability“, “Advanced Knowledge or Ability”, “Superior Knowledge or Ability” based on the selection criteria.
  • Ranking – The FSU Principal Investigator will compile a list of students who have been selected for the awards and forward the names to NSF for confirmation.

Criteria for Selection

The criteria used to classify and rank applicants are:

  • Cumulative Undergraduate/Graduate GPA
  • Major Undergraduate/Graduate GPA
  • Academic record (course content)
  • Standardized test scores
  • Evaluation of the student’s statement of purpose.
  • Two (2) Letters of Reference from current/former faculty members or current/former supervisors
  • Demonstrated leadership, participation in team activities, prior social service, and/or evidence of creative and independent thinking and/or acting
  • Knowledge of the techniques of the information technology and/or information security (assurance) discipline, including encryption, access control, physical security, training, threat analysis, and authentication
  • Knowledge of the human factors in the information technology and/or information security (assurance), including human computer interaction, design, training, sabotage, human error prevention and identification, personal use policies, and monitoring
  • Ability to identify and analyze problems, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information to make logical decisions, and provide solutions to individual and organizational problems
  • Ability to consider and respond appropriately to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of different people in different situations; is tactful, compassionate and sensitive, and treats others with respect
  • Ability to make clear and convincing oral presentations to individuals or groups; listens effectively and clarifies information as needed, facilitates an open exchange of ideas and fosters an atmosphere of open communication
  • Ability to express facts and ideas in writing in a clear, convincing and organized manner appropriate to the audience and occasion

More Information


  • Daniel Clawson
    Graduate Coordinator
    203D James J. Love Building
    Florida State University

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